NEW YORK - The heartbroken parents of a 22-year-old man murdered on the Fourth of July and who also had another son shot and wounded just days later are speaking out. They say they pray no other family suffers from the deadly gun violence that's forced them to flee from their home out of fear for their safety.
Mamadou Bah Sr. and his wife, Halimata, are trying to grasp how their peaceful family life of more than two decades could change in a matter of days. On the Fourth of July, college student Mamadou Bah Jr. was shot and killed near 172nd Street and Boston Road in the Bronx, police said.
"My big son called me crying, 'Mommy, they killed Mamadou, they killed Mamadou,'" Halimata Bah, the mother of the murdered man, told FOX 5 NY.
The couple told me that later that day shots were fired outside their home in the Morrisania section. Then on July 9, Aloussenou, 20, also a college student, was shot and wounded outside their home. Now the family has been forced to leave, afraid that if they stay they'll lose another loved one.
"I'm not going to be able to go back to my house," Mamadou Bah Sr. said. "I've been living at that address for 22 years."
The grieving parents say they have no idea who would have wanted to kill Mamadou Jr.
"Mamadou is a good person, laughing, laughing, smiling," Halimata Bah said.
"I'd be hoping that nobody's going to have this kind of life that I'm going through now," Mamadou Bah Sr. said.
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 5 NY News app. Download for FREE!
An NYPD spokesperson said police have arrested a 19-year-old Bronx man on attempted murder charges for the wounding of Aloussenou, who is expected to recover.
But both the family and community activists say the shootings have got to stop.
"I feel sorry for everybody's loss — mother, sister, brother, family, friend," Halimata Bah said. "I feel everybody's lost like me. It has to stop."
Ahmadou "Neby" Diallo, a community activist, condemned the increase in gun violence.
"So many people have been affected by this tragedy," Diallo said. "And now families are losing young children."
Because of the family size, they're spread out at different locations while Bronx officials try to find new permanent housing for them. Accepting help is tough for the Bahs, who immigrated here from West Africa decades ago and pride themselves on never having taken any type of assistance.
But now it's different. It's about keeping their other children alive.